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Louvre Hotels Group seeks growth in S. Korea through partnership

All News 14:15 January 28, 2016

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- Louvre Hotels Group, a major European hotel chain owned by a state-run Chinese hotel and tour conglomerate, said Thursday it will expand its presence in South Korea's hospitality sector by differentiating its service through partnership with local players.

The French hotel chain, the second-largest in Europe, signed a brand agreement with a local development company in November 2014 and opened two mid to upscale hotels under the "Golden Tulip" brand. One is located in Myeongdong, a popular shopping area in downtown Seoul, and the other is on the southern resort island of Jeju.

Six other hotels are currently under construction in major travel destinations across the nation to accommodate the growing number of foreign travelers in the next 2-3 years.

Louvre Group Chairman Pierre-Frederic Roulot said the group's key expansion strategy is to form alliances with local partners to take advantage of their know-how and adapt its brand concepts to the country's customs.

"We respect local people and local partners. You have to be very close to the culture and close to what customers want," Roulot said during an opening ceremony for its Myeongdong hotel. "You have to localize your product to differentiate the service."

Roulot said Korea has huge growth potential in the tourism market considering its economic power and its prominent pop culture, known as "hallyu." Plus, it is close to China, which has the world's largest outbound tourism market.

He said Louvre Group has a competitive edge over other foreign brands in the terms of Chinese network as it is owned by Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels Co., which handles about 30 percent of the nation's outbound travel market.

"Korea is a popular destination for travelers and you also have strong tourism business. That's why we are interested in this market," he said.

Established in 1976, the Paris-based hotel group was acquired last year by Jin Jiang, which has been seeking to drive rising Chinese travelers to hotels under its wing.

Louvre Hotels has a network of more than 1,100 hotels in more than 40 countries worldwide, ranging from one to five stars including Premiere Classe, Campanile, Kyriad and Golden Tulip brands.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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